THOUSANDS descended on Chalkwell Park for the popular Village Green festival as in marked its tenth birthday.

The festival, which is presented by Metal, has grown to become an event which is integral to the Southend community.


Surfer - the crowd REALLY enjoyed this set. Picture: Jon Webber


Crowds - the volume raised as Busted came out on stage


Winner - Ruti, who won The Voice last year


This year performers included chart-toppers Busted, Ruti, SK Shlomo, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, with organisers describing the event as bigger and better than ever.

Ahead of her performance, the Echo went backstage with Ruti, the winner of The Voice 2018, who performed this year for her first time on the main stage.

The 19-year-old from Stanford-le-Hope, sang mostly original works including her hit single Racing Cars, as well as an unreleased song called Closer to You, which she hopes to have released by the end of the year.

Ruti Olajugbagbe said: “I was 11 when I started singing, and I never imagined things would turn out like this. When I was asked last year to perform at Village Green, I said yes instantly.

“In 2017 I performed at the festival on the oak stage, so to go from there straight to the main stage is so unexpected.

“It’s crazy to think I’m sharing the stage with acts like Busted. I remember listening to them when I was in primary school.

“Now I’ll be continuing to write music and do my own gigs. I guess we’ll have to see what happens.”

Rebecca Hann, from Southend, has been coming to the festival since it started ten years ago.

The 37-year-old said: “When I first saw Fun Lovin’ Criminals were performing, I was quite shocked, they ran in the nineties and I didn’t know they were playing still. I was sold straight away.

“I volunteered to help with the festival five years ago, I helped sort out the wrist bands, help out behind the stages, it was really fun.”

Pam Hann, from Eastwood, added: “We’ve been coming since it started, when it was free and there were no wrist bands.

“Back then, it was a lot smaller and had a hippy vibe to it, you could come and go as you please, kind of like it was just thrown together.

“This year it seems more organised, it’s become so much bigger and more important to so many people.”

The festival goer added: “It’s a fantastic day out for all the family, I came with Rebecca, my daughter and her husband, and their two kids.”